A lot will be going through your head when you go into labor. Having a pre-packed labor and delivery bag ready to go is a great way to ensure you don't forget any of the essentials when you're on the way to the hospital.
Dr. Jessica Hertzberg, OB-GYN at Moreland OB-GYN and mother of four, shares her necessary, comforting and helpful delivery items. Watch our video blog below and read our printable hospital bag checklist for labor and delivery.
What Should You Include In Your Pre-Packed Labor and Delivery Bag?
Important Documents for Mom and Dad
You're going to fill out a lot of paperwork for baby, so make sure you have the social security numbers for both you and your partner. Other important documents you’ll need include:
- Photo IDs
- Insurance information
- Hospital forms
- Birth plan
Your Own Toiletries
The hospital will supply basic toiletries, although bringing your personal shampoo and soap from home can be a source of familiarity and comfort for new moms. Consider putting the following into your bag:
Comfy Clothes for You
You will be in a hospital gown during the actual delivery, but it's important not to forget a change of clothes for you after your baby is born. Packing appropriate sizes (your body won't immediately return to normal) of your most comfortable clothes is key. Consider putting the following in your bag:
- Pajamas or loose-fitting clothing
- Nursing shirts
- Nursing bra
Blankets for Baby
Having a blanket for baby will provide them comfort and give them something to bond with from your home. This blanket will also be helpful later if you need to introduce a pet to your baby.
NOTE: If you have pets at home, bring a second blanket to use with baby. Then, take that blanket home first to familiarize your pets with baby's scent.
Clothes for Baby
It’s important to consider the weather when packing clothes for baby. For example, if it's winter, be sure you have a baby hat, mittens, and a blanket to cover baby because coats cannot be worn in a carseat.
Many moms like to post pictures after delivery to let others know both mom and baby are doing well. Having an outfit picked out can make this moment that much more special and personal.
A Breastfeeding Pillow
This is a personal option from mom to mom, as not all mothers choose to breastfeed. For those that do, packing a boppy or pillow you plan on using for breastfeeding allows you to get hands-on guidance and practice with the lactation consultants while at the hospital.
For mothers who have never used a pump before, lactation specialists can help you learn how to use it. It’s a great idea to bring your pump along to get a free tutorial! If you are unable to bring your pump and for whatever reason need to start pumping at the hospital, hospital pumps are available.
Many people have a nice camera they want to bring for after delivery photos, although the camera on a smartphone will also work just fine!
Phone / Phone Charger
Your phone battery will drain quickly from taking photos and updating friends and family, so be sure you bring a phone charger with an extra-long cord.
iPad or Laptop / Chargers
Bringing an iPad or laptop is a great way to communicate with outside family and help pass the time while you’re waiting. Don’t forget the chargers!
Bringing a baby book to the hospital can be helpful if you want to take and document footprints and handprints.
A must! It's dry at the hospital and you'll be happy to have it.
You may be at the hospital a while; bring your favorite healthy snacks in case you get hungry between meals.
Many parents like to give something to the older sibling to help ease their anxiety over the new baby. Older siblings may also want to give something special to their new baby sister or brother.
Something to Hold Your Hair Back
Giving birth is hard work! You’ll be most comfortable with your hair pulled back and out of your face, so don't forget to pack hair ties and a headband.
Other Items for Your Labor and Delivery Hospital Bag
Every mother is different, and you'll want to bring what makes you comfortable during this process. Such comforts could include:
- Essential oils diffuser- check with the hospital if they allow this
- A plug-in with your favorite scent
While not likely to fit in your hospital bag, it’s a good idea to have a car seat nearby as a reminder before heading to the hospital. After delivery, have someone bring the car seat to the hospital room to ensure it’s correctly adjusted before you leave to take baby home.
A car seat that has been sitting in a car in the hospital parking lot may be too hot or cold for baby. Bringing the car seat to the hospital room will also ensure it’s a comfortable temperature.
With your pre-packed labor and delivery bag ready to go, that's one less thing to worry about as you welcome your new family member! To learn more about contractions and when to go to the hospital, visit this page.
Remember, childbirth is different from woman to woman. After birth, you should take it easy and listen to your body. For more information about postpartum health, visit our postpartum care page.
If you have any questions about your delivery or preparing for labor, please contact or request an appointment with our caring physicians.